Catalysis enabled synthesis, structures, and reactivities of fluorinated S8-corona[n]arenes (n = 8–12)†
Previously inaccessible large S8-corona[n]arene macrocycles (n = 8–12) with alternating aryl and 1,4-C6F4 subunits are easily prepared on up to gram scales, without the need for chromatography (up to 45% yield, 10 different examples) through new high acceleration SNAr substitution protocols (catalytic NR4F in pyridine, R = H, Me, Bu). Macrocycle size and functionality are tunable by precursor and catalyst selection. Equivalent simple NR4F catalysis allows facile late-stage SNAr difunctionalisation of the ring C6F4 units with thiols (8 derivatives, typically 95+% yields) providing two-step access to highly functionalised fluoromacrocycle libraries. Macrocycle host binding supports fluoroaryl catalytic activation through contact ion pair binding of NR4F and solvent inclusion. In the solid-state, solvent inclusion also intimately controls macrocycle conformation and fluorine–fluorine interactions leading to spontaneous self-assembly into infinite columns with honeycomb-like lattices.